My daytime job has been this painting of my Grandma and Mom floating on our family lake in Minnesota. Our weeks spent at Hay Lake Lodge were my favorites. They were opportunities for experiencing childhood at its best, bond with family, and finding adventures. I think if I had my way, life would be nothing but walking in the woods wondering if you smell bear, threading leaches onto hooks in a Sysyphean attempt to catch fish, and endless pinball games at the lodge.
The photo from which I'm painting captures a quality of my Grandma which I adore but have trouble naming. As a woman in constant motion, she rarely sat still, and here she is very regally perched in an innertube floating with my Mom behind her on a raft. I wonder what thoughts drifted into their heads as my Dad cheekily snapped an ever-controversial bathing suit photo.
I'm thinking about their relaxed, content dispositions and the unease of knowing your body is forever captured on film (and now adorning a canvas.) I'm thinking about them floating in dark water that is both enticing and fun but a little scary or icky because the weeds and fish tickle your toes and grab your ankles as I paint giant leaves inspired by ferns and other plants at the Garfield Conservatory. Instead of patterns in fabric, I'm choosing to use patterns in nature to describe the mood of this painting.
I'm constantly inspired by the symmetry in nature and its ability to produce drama in its simplicity. In the veins of a leaf or the branching of a fern I see timelines of history, interconnectedness of nature, and predictability of certain outcomes coming from certain circumstances. These leaves and membranes are beautiful and elegant. The large oval leaves floating in the lake make me wondering if they are cells or eggs or that perhaps the Pequot lakes are really bowls of primordial soup which we float in and out of.
Well, I did it again, I ended up writing about something entirely different that I had planned. I wanted to emphasize my desire of capturing various stages of my painting to reference, study, and examine so that I can analyze various decisions and resolutions. I was inspired by Matisse who sent over months many photos of his painting Large Reclining Nude to his collector detailing the journey of a single painting. It takes my breath away when I look at a grid of his process of stretching her limbs and shrinking her head. It is like a little window into his brain. I wonder how he felt inside when he knew it was in fact completed. Take a look here.